Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Tales from Chamber Contractor Oversight

Project on Government Oversight

October 28, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Follow the Money, Government Contractor | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Defense Department Contracting In Afghanistan: Are We Doing Enough To Combat Corruption?

September 21, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, Government Contractor, State Department | , , , | Leave a comment

Afghan contractor guilty of paying $27,000 bribe to Illinois Guardsman

BY FRANK MAIN Staff Reporter/fmain@suntimes.com May 11, 2011 06:18PM //

An Afghan contractor has pleaded guilty to paying a $27,000 bribe to an Illinois National Guard officer — who spent some of the cash on prostitutes and booze — in exchange for a contract to supply Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

Noor Alam and his company Northern Reconstruction Organization entered the plea last week in federal court in Chicago.

Prosecutors have recommended a one-year sentence for Alam — even though he faces up to five years in prison — partly because his crime was “run of the mill” and he “performed well as a military contractor.” But prosecutors said he still deserves prison time because such corruption harms the military campaign in Afghanistan.

Alam was arrested at O’Hare Airport in 2008 after the government lured him and other Afghan contractors to the United States with an invitation to receive awards at a seminar in Columbus, Ohio. The fake invitation said he was going to be honored as a contractor “who best represent[s] the cooperative nature of our … reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.’’

Please read more here

May 11, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption | , , , | Leave a comment

Row brews over German aid contractor, Agef, in Afghanistan

Earth Times

Berlin – Germany may cease using a development-aid contractor after allegations that it may have misused public funds, a Germany all-news radio station, NDR Info, said Thursday. The report came two days after the government told parliament it was alarmed by allegations of “corruption.”
The firm, Agef, trains refugees in new life and vocational skills when they are sent home from Germany to Afghanistan, Iraq and other nations.  Berlin-based Agef denied any irregularities.

NDR Info said the review followed a report by the auditing company, Price Waterhouse Coopers, to German Development Aid Minister Dirk Niebel that it was possible aid funds had been put to other uses.  The government had said Tuesday in a written reply to opposition Greens that it was concerned about “allegations of corruption” in connection with Agef, according to the clerk of parliament.
Agef had received 6.4 million euros (8.5 million dollars) in the past year from different federal authorities for its services. When Germany refuses permanent political asylum to would-be immigrants it often gives them free training to help them make a fresh start in their homeland. Agef says on its website it has also trained returnees to Kosovo.

NDR Info said it was alleged that grants to retrain certain Afghans were not spent as approved.

Agef chief executive Klaus Duennhaupt denied to the radio station that any work was charged improperly and said Agef faced a “witch hunt.” In Afghanistan, prosecutors confirmed they were investigating allegations that locally hired staff of Agef went unpaid.  See the original at Earth Times

January 20, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MsSparky’s 1000th Blog Post

Cross Posted from MsSparky

Oh my! 1000 published blog posts! Who would have figured after 30 months of investigative blogging I would still be at it. 1000 published posts is a huge accomplishment for any blogger. I’m very proud of this milestone!

One would think I would have run out of things to write about regarding Defense contracting fraud and Pentagon incompetence, but it just keeps spewing forth. It’s like the Defense Departments very own “Old Faithful” geyser of crap! It just keeps blowing! I have to thank companies like Fluor, Dyncorp, CSA, SBH, Blackwater, ArmorGroup, Agility and mostly….(tearing up) KBR for making stupid management decisions that always give me something to write about. I will be forever grateful (sniff sniff).

I couldn’t have met this milestone without the support of my friends and family, my regular readers, guest writers, other collaborating bloggers, published authors, investigative reporters, super sleuths, whistle blowers, attorneys, concerned citizens, former and current defense contractor employees, widows, spouses, parents and most importantly………

I have to say, this has been a most amazing journey with the most interesting twists and turns along the way. Blogging at is not like any 9-5 job I’ve ever had. I can’t really plan my day. I may THINK I know what I’m going to be doing after I get that first cup of coffee, but then reality sets in when I open my email and there’s some little (or big) gem of information. I just get all excited like a kid on Christmas morning! 2010 has been an interesting year because the majority of my work has been unpublished and behind the scenes. It doesn’t pay much in dollars, but I think this is the most rewarding and satisfying job I have every had!

One of the hardest, but most rewarding parts of this job is watching victims prevail as they doggedly pursue justice not only for themselves but for others. I’ve watched victims overcome tragedy and turn their pain and grief into something positive for those still suffering. I’m in constant awe of the strength and determination of the human spirit.

Without a doubt, the very best part of this job are the friends I’ve made along way.  Some, I’ve never met in person. Some, I never will, but friends just the same. I am truly blessed!

Thank you for the FIRST 1000 posts!

Please see the original with comments at MsSparky

December 15, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Blackwater, Burn Pits, Civilian Contractors, Contingency Contracting, Contractor Corruption, DynCorp, EODT, G4S, Halliburton, Iraq, KBR, LOGCAP, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, Triple Canopy, Wackenhut | , , , | 1 Comment

Potential compromise offered on Afghan private security ban

Government Executive.com

By Robert Brodsky rbrodsky@govexec.com October 25, 2010

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refused to back down on his pledge to disband all private security contractors operating in the country, but signaled during a weekend meeting that he could be open to a potential compromise.

Karzai told foreign representatives, including Gen. David Petraeus, the head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, to provide the Afghan government with a list of major projects that need protection, along with their security requirements, so that “appropriate measures” could be taken. It was not immediately clear if those measures would include an exemption for providing private security, and if so, how such a decision would be made.

In mid-August, Karzai issued an order to remove all private security contractors from Afghanistan by Dec. 17, citing incidents of violence and questionable behavior by foreign guards. Afghanistan’s police and security forces — many of whom have been described as poorly trained and corrupt — would provide protection. Security firms working at foreign embassies and military bases would be exempt from removal.

U.S. officials said they share Karzai’s goal, but argued his time frame is overly ambitious and could disrupt ongoing development projects.

The Washington Post reported last week that U.S.-backed development firms have begun shutting down or suspending multimillion-dollar projects because of the ban.

“We don’t think it’s had an impact at this time, and we certainly do not want to see development projects that are important to Afghanistan’s future affected by this decree,” State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said on Friday.

Many firms working for the U.S. Agency for International Development already have submitted contingency plans outlining how they will to respond to the order, according to Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council, a contractor trade association with member companies operating in Afghanistan.

Please read the entire story here

October 25, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Legal Jurisdictions, NATO, NGO's, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, State Department, USAID | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear DoJ: Name that firm! – the news this week

If you know the names of any of these contractors/firms that the DoJ is protecting, please let us know. ~Forseti   at MsSparky’s

U.S. Army Major Sentenced to 21 Months in Prison for False Statements Charge Related to Attempt to Smuggle Currency from Iraq to the United States
WASHINGTON – U.S. Army Major , 46, of Huntsville, Ala., was sentenced today to 21 months in prison for making false statements to a federal agency, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

Sublett was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Samuel H. Mays in Memphis, Tenn. In addition to his prison term, Sublett was also sentenced to two years of supervised release and was ordered to forfeit $107,900 and 17,120,000 Iraqi dinar. Sublett was indicted on Jan. 5, 2010, following his arrest in Huntsville, and pleaded guilty on July 7, 2010. According to the indictment, Sublett smuggled more than $100,000 in currency, concealed in a shipping package, into the United States from Iraq in January 2005.

According to court documents, Sublett was deployed to Balad Regional Contracting Center on Logistical Support Area (LSA) Anaconda in Iraq from August 2004 through February 2005. LSA Anaconda is a U.S. military installation that was established in 2003 to support U.S. military operations in Iraq. According to the indictment, Sublett served as a contracting officer while deployed to LSA Anaconda. As a contracting officer, Sublett was responsible for, among other things, evaluating and supervising contracts with companies that provide goods and services to the U.S. Army. (Click HERE for article)

Go to MsSparky’s for the rest of this post

October 11, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption | , , | 2 Comments

The Struggle to Police Foreign Subcontractors in Iraq and Afghanistan

Billions at Stake, but U.S. Investigators Stymied by Murky Rules, Enforcement Obstacles

To win hearts and minds in Afghanistan and Iraq, military experts want U.S. companies to contract with local firms for a variety of tasks like trucking, feeding troops, and providing security. The U.S. government’s “Afghan First” and “Iraqi First” initiatives increasingly seek to rely on local contractors, often through subcontracts, in part to stimulate their local economies.

But a host of investigations underscore the perils in the murky world of subcontracting with foreign firms, and the difficulties in making sure taxpayer dollars are well spent. Among the current and recent probes by the Pentagon, congressional panels, and federal investigators:

  • Up to $300 million in subcontracts in Iraq and Kuwait were allegedly tainted by a Saudi-based subcontractor employee’s kickback scheme;
  • Subcontracted security forces in Afghanistan are suspected of bribing both Taliban and Afghan government officials;
  • U.S. money for a trash collection program in Iraq, administered by a bewildering array of subcontractors, has allegedly ended up in the pockets of insurgents; and
  • A former contractor employee alleged that Middle Eastern subcontractors, trying to sway the award of more subcontracts, were sneaking prostitutes into Baghdad’s Green Zone by abusing their security access cards.

Subcontracting is among the most challenging parts of the U.S. government’s widespread outsourcing of war-related tasks. It works like this: A government agency — most likely the Defense Department, State Department, or U.S. Agency for International Development — will award work to a “prime” contractor. That prime contractor, usually a large American company like Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) or DynCorp International, will often subcontract some or even a majority of its work to other companies, including foreign-owned firms. Those subcontractors sometimes then turn around and subcontract part of the work, and so on.

“There are good reasons for using subcontractors,” said Christopher Shays, a former Republican lawmaker who is now co-chair of the congressionally created Commission on Wartime Contracting. “Business economists tell us that subcontracting can help businesses tap into specialized skills, configure their organization to meet changing needs, and adjust to shifts in demand.”

Subcontractors do everything from providing translators for American soldiers to trucking supplies into war zones, as well as building military bases and providing security. Without foreign subcontractors, U.S. troops could not operate halfway around the globe.

But in footing the bill for all this work by a network of companies, the U.S. government often doesn’t know who it is ultimately paying. And that can lead to fraud, shoddy work, or even taxpayer funds ending up in the hands of enemy fighters.  Please read the entire article here

August 29, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, DynCorp, Iraq, KBR, Pentagon, Wartime Contracting | , , | Leave a comment

Fort Hood Army Captain pleads guilty to bribery charges

By Louis Ojeda Jr.  News Channel 25 WACO

WACO – A Fort Hood U.S. Army captain pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges he accepted bribes from a contractor while in Iraq.

Capt. Faustino L. Gonzales, 38, allegedly conspired with Chasib Mahdi Contracting Company to receive bribes for awarding contracts near a base in Rustimiyah, Iraq between 2005 and 2006.

An investigation revealed Capt. Gonzalez made cash payments to Mahdi for contracts he was awarded under the commander’s emergency relief program for Iraq reconstruction.

In exchange for awarding the contracts, Mahdi reportedly paid bribes in the form of cash.

A portion of the bribe money was allegedly deposited in bank accounts located in Waco and San Antonio. Some of the money was sent to Gonzalez brother who was told it was a military bonus.

Gonzalez is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 15. He could receive up to two years in federal prison, up to a $250,000 fine and an unspecified amount in restitution.

June 25, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption | , , , , | Leave a comment

War zone corruption allegations up sharply

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government, which is pressing Iraqi and Afghan leaders to get tough on internal corruption, is doing the same in its ranks.

Cases of suspected fraud and other wrongdoing by U.S. troops and contractors overseeing reconstruction and relief projects in Iraq and Afghanistan are up dramatically.

James Burch, the Defense Department‘s deputy inspector general for investigations, says his agency is investigating 223 cases — 18% more than a year ago.

Investigators have charged an Army officer with pocketing cash meant to pay Iraqi civilian militiamen, contractors offering an Army officer $1 million for the inside track on a road project in Afghanistan, and three contractors for an alleged conspiracy to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fuel from a U.S. base in Baghdad.

Army Maj. John Cockerham was sentenced in December to 17½ years in prison for accepting $9 million in bribes for contracts to sell water and other supplies to the U.S. military.

In Afghanistan, where U.S. spending on reconstruction will soon surpass the $50 billion spent in Iraq, the U.S. government is bolstering its investigative presence. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has a staff of 15 and plans to expand to 32 by October. By September 2011, the agency plans to have 49 full-time employees, says Raymond DiNunzio, an assistant inspector general

In Iraq, investigators have opened 67 fraud cases this year, compared with 69 for all of 2009, according to the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR). In Afghanistan, it’s 42 cases this year vs. four last year.

Stuart Bowen, who heads SIGIR, says more tipsters are coming forward. “Some of these people have come back to the States, so they’re out of the threat zone,” he says. “Perhaps what they saw is gnawing at their conscience.”

Read the full story here

June 20, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Iraq, Pentagon, Private Military Contractors, Wartime Contracting | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Defense Contractor Says Fired Worker Waited Too Long to File Whistleblower Suit

By Robert Wilonsky, Tuesday, Jun. 1 2010 @ 8:55AM
The Dallas Observer

Back on March 22 we told you about Michael Riddle, the former senior employment manager at defense contractor DynCorp International’s Fort Worth outpost who claimed in court docs he was fired last September for being a whistleblower. Specifically, Riddle alleged in Dallas federal court papers that DynCorp took millions from the State Department to create “a list of ready, willing and able Americans with prior law enforcement backgrounds” who could be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan, among other trouble spots. Riddle claimed, though, that no such database ever existed — and that DynCorp officials had no intention of creating one, to the point where, he says, he was told to make one up when the feds started snooping around.

It took more than two months for DynCorp to file its response; it even asked for an extension in early May. But, finally, it has an answer to Riddle’s complaint, which is, simply: Why, he’s no whistleblower at all, but, instead, just a disgruntled ex-employee retaliating against his former employer for firing him for “performance deficiencies” — the sole reason offered for Riddle’s termination in September. DynCorp’s Dallas attorney also filed at week’s end a motion to dismiss. Reason: He waited too long to file his whistleblower suit — which, says here, “is one of the favorite defenses in whistleblower cases.” All the relevant courthouse docs follow.

Full story with Documents here

Also see MsSparky

June 1, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Civilian Police, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, DynCorp, State Department | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Contractor provided KBR employees with sports tickets and golf outings

U.S. Intervenes in Suit Against KBR and Panalpina Alleging Kickbacks Under the False Claims Act

Allegations of Kickbacks and Overbilling Related to Logistical Support in Iraq


WASHINGTON, May 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Justice Department has intervened in a whistleblower lawsuit against Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), Panalpina Inc. and others that alleges that employees of two freight forwarders doing business with the companies provided unlawful kickbacks to KBR transportation department employees.  KBR is the prime contractor under the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP III) contract for logistical support of U.S. military operations in Iraq. The whistleblowers also allege overbilling by a KBR subcontractor in the Balkans, Wesco, under a military contract.

The United States is pursuing allegations that the two freight forwarders, Eagle Global Logistics (which has since merged with TNT Logistics and become CEVA) and Panalpina provided unlawful kickbacks in the form of meals, drinks, tickets to sports events and golf outings to KBR employees.  The government will seek damages and penalties under the False Claims Act and common law, as well as penalties under the Anti-Kickback Act.  The United States has declined to intervene in the remaining allegations of the relators’ suit.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act by David Vavra and Jerry Hyatt who have been active in the air cargo business–the industry relevant to the case. Under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, a private citizen, known as a “relator,” can sue on behalf of the United States.  If the suit is successful, the relator may share in the recovery.

“Defense contractors cannot take advantage of the ongoing war effort by accepting unlawful kickbacks,” said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division of the Department of Justice.  “We are committed to maintaining the integrity of the Department of Defense’s procurement process.”

The United States previously intervened in and settled the relators’ allegations that EGL included non-existent charges for war risk insurance in invoices to KBR for air shipments to Iraq, costs that KBR passed on to the Army.  Two EGL employees pleaded guilty to related criminal charges.   EGL paid the United States $4 million in the civil settlement.

The government also intervened in and settled the relators’ allegations that EGL’s local agent in Kuwait, a company known as Al-Rashed, overcharged it for the rental (or demurrage) of shipping containers.  The United States resolved potential claims arising from that matter against EGL for $300,000.  Finally, EGL paid the government $750,000 to settle the relators’ allegations that the company provided kickbacks to employees in KBR’s transportation department.  Former EGL employee Kevin Smoot and former KBR employee Bob Bennett pleaded guilty to related criminal charges in federal court in Rock Island.

This case is being prosecuted as part of a National Procurement Fraud Initiative.  In October 2006, the Deputy Attorney General announced the formation of a National Procurement Fraud Task Force designed to promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in government contracting activity for national security and other government programs.  The Procurement Fraud Task Force is chaired by the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division and includes the Civil Division, United States Attorneys’ Offices, the FBI, the U.S. Inspectors General community and a number of other federal law enforcement agencies.  The Defense Criminal Investigative Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation participated in the investigation of this matter.  This case, as well as others brought by members of the task force, demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to ensure the integrity of the government procurement process.

Read the full Post at MSSPARKY

The case is United States of America ex rel. Vavra, et al. v. Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 1:04-CV-00042 (E.D. Tex.). (click HERE for the original article)

May 5, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, KBR | , , | Leave a comment

Senators Call for Changes to Troubled, Costly Afghan Police Training Program

by Ryan Knutson, ProPublica

State and Defense department officials took a tongue-lashing today, trying to explain to a Senate subcommittee how the government has poured $6 billion since 2002 into building an effective Afghan police force with disastrous results.

ProPublica and Newsweek examined the problems [1] with police training in Afghanistan in a story published last month. The program, managed under a contract with DynCorp International, has faced challenges on every front, from recruitment to inadequate training periods to corruption to poor officer retention.

“Everything that could go wrong here, has gone wrong,” Gordon S. Heddell, the inspector general of the Department of Defense, acknowledged to an ad hoc subcommittee [2] of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Heddell’s office, along with the State Department’s Inspector General, completed a six-month audit in January of the program that found significant lapses.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., the subcommittee chair, and others on the panel were less interested in rehashing the program’s well-known shortcomings and more interested in hearing about solutions. “What you laid out was a problem we knew in 2001,” said Sen. Edward Kaufman, D-Del., in response to comments from Heddell. “What are the two or three things you can spend $6 billion on and not end up with essentially nothing?”

Defense and State Department officials agreed that clearer guidelines for the contractor and more oversight are needed to improve the program. Currently, the State Department has just seven contract overseers in Afghanistan, said David T. Johnson, an assistant secretary for the State Department. The agency hopes to have 22 in place by September, Johnson said.

Another key would be to make training ongoing, rather than just the six weeks that police recruits are getting now, said David S. Sedney, a deputy assistant secretary with the Defense Department. “This is not a weeks- or months-long [process] — it’s a years-long process,” he said, adding that police need to be partnered with American military and more experienced Afghan troops on whom they can model their behavior.

Even if the program makes headway, some senators questioned whether it would be sustainable without a massive ongoing commitment from U.S. taxpayers. The Afghan police and army are slated to receive $11.6 billion to fund their operations for 2011, with just over half going to the police, Sedney said. McCaskill pointed out that’s only $2 billion less than the entire country’s Gross Domestic Product.

“It’s obvious that Afghanistan is not going to be able to afford what we’re building for them,” she said. The U.S. has made a “billion-dollar commitment for years to come.”

The government is already exploring whether a change in contractors might benefit the police-training program. DynCorp’s contract has been extended for several months, but the State Department has issued a call for new bids, hoping an array of companies will step up to compete for the job, Johnson said. McCaskill was skeptical, however.

“I will be shocked — like winning the lottery — if we end up with anybody other than DynCorp,” she said.

Write to Ryan Knutson at Ryan.Knutson@propublica.org

April 15, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, DynCorp, Wartime Contracting | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colonel to Admit Role in Iraq War Corruption

U.S. Army Veteran Is Accused of Taking More Than $50,000 in Bribes


A 26-year veteran of the U.S. Army is the latest and highest-ranking officer to plead guilty in a contractor-corruption scandal rising out of the Iraq War.

Col. Kevin A. Davis, who retired from the military in 2005, has agreed to plead guilty next month in a U.S. court in Washington, D.C., according to federal court documents.

Col. Davis is charged with taking more than $50,000 in bribes to help a Kuwait-based contractor win a rigged bid to operate weapons warehouses in Iraq. Col. Davis then went to work for that same company, American Logistics Services, as a senior executive after leaving the military. Col. Davis later joined Lee Dynamics International, which was formed by George Lee, a U.S. citizen who also directed ALS.

LDI was banned from government service after being investigated in probes of defense-contract fraud in Iraq and Kuwait. Mr. Lee is under investigation, and officials say they will likely seek an indictment. LDI challenged the ban in court, but it was upheld. Mr. Lee’s attorney says his client denies any wrongdoing by both himself and any companies he was involved with.

Col. Davis declined through his attorney to speak about the case. He is expected to cooperate with federal investigators after his guilty plea is accepted, according to his lawyer.

Another officer expected to plead guilty next month is Capt. Markus E. McClain, according to federal officials familiar with the investigation. The Mississippian is charged with taking $15,000 to help a Kuwait-based firm secure a contract to provide vehicles to military convoys supplying bases in Iraq.

Capt. McClain, 31, didn’t respond to requests for comment. He served in Kuwait in 2004 after being called to active duty from the Mississippi Army National Guard. A guard spokesman said he resigned from his unit on March 1.

Col. Davis, 52 years old, is the highest-ranking officer to be implicated in a scheme known among federal investigators as the Cockerham Case, for Major John Cockerham, who pleaded guilty last year to receiving more than $9 million in illegal payments for defense contracts, primarily to service the Camp Arifjan military base in Kuwait.

Early in the probe, Major Gloria Dean Davis, came under suspicion by investigators in the case. She committed suicide in Baghdad in December 2006, hours after confirming she received more than $225,000 from the same contractor Col. Davis later joined as a civilian, LDI.

The two officers weren’t related, however investigators familiar with the case say they were involved romantically.

Capt. McClain reported to Maj. Davis in 2004.  Read this story in it’s entirety at WSJ

March 22, 2010 Posted by | Contractor Corruption, Wartime Contracting | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment